I am basing my critique of Michael Klare's article on what is freely available on the IEA website. The full report costs 130 euros for a pdf (the cheapest format), so perhaps Michael will consider making this available to interested readers, assuming he has the full report. First, Michael does not comment on the challenge I made to his claim that fracked gas substituted for coal use would seem to be an obvious environmental plus.

Here is what the Executive Summary says on the issue of inevitability of catastrophic climate change (C3):

"Energy efficiency can keep the door to 2 °C open for just a bit longer  Successive editions of this report have shown that the climate goal of limiting warming to 2 °C is becoming more difficult and more costly with each year that passes. Our

450 Scenario examines the actions necessary to achieve this goal and finds that almost four-fifths of the CO2 emissions allowable by 2035 are already locked-in by existing power plants, factories, buildings, etc. If action to reduce CO2 emissions is not taken before 2017, all the allowable CO2 emissions would be locked-in by energy infrastructure existing at that time. Rapid deployment of energy-efficient technologies – as in our Efficient World Scenario – would postpone this complete lock-in to 2022, buying time to secure a much needed global agreement to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.

No more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2 °C goal, unless carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is widely deployed. This finding is based on our assessment of global “carbon

reserves”, measured as the potential CO2 emissions from proven fossil-fuel reserves. Almost two-thirds of these carbon reserves are related to coal, 22% to oil and 15% to gas. Geographically, two-thirds are held by North America, the Middle East, China and Russia.

These findings underline the importance of CCS as a key option to mitigate CO2 emissions, but its pace of deployment remains highly uncertain, with only a handful of commercial scale projects currently in operation."


I stand by the accuracy of my comments (see below). In particular, I said:
"In other words, if there is any chance left to avoid catastrophic climate change C3) reduction in global carbon emissions must start very soon, with robust substitution of fossil fuels, starting with coal (and non-conventional petroleum such as tar sands and fracked gas*) by wind and solar energy as well as carbon sequestration from the atmosphere to the soil and crust.  Thus, while C3 looms ever closer, it is not inevitable as Klare claims it is, based on this report."
Readers can find more detail, including quantification of the carbon sequestration technologies mentioned (not so-called 'clean coal') at www.solarUtopia.org (homepage). A rapid phaseout of coal and non-conventional petroleum, with a maximum of 40% of conventional petroleum being consumed in a full wind/solar transition (taking 20-30 years) will be compatible with what the IEA says above, namely "
No more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2 °C goal, unless carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is widely deployed. "

Cheers,
David Schwartzman
www.solarUtopia.org
www.redandgreen.org

On Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 10:52 PM, Michael Klare <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Dear David and other readers of my column:

I am sorry that you did not like my interpretation of the IEA report.  But it was not I who was making these ominous judgments, it was the IEA.  I was merely summarizing their conclusions.  They indicated very clearly that on our present path - EVEN WITH significant efforts to reduce carbon emissions - we are headed toward catastrophic climate change.  Yes, they did say that with an all-out drive to promote efficiency and renewable, we can still avert the worst, but the thrust of their report was that we are heading in the opposite direction. In fact, the essence of my argument was that by leading with the prediction that the USA is destined to overtake Saudi Arabia to be the world's top oil producer, the IEA actually bolstered the pro-oil forces in this country and undermined the drive for renewables.  Why you found it necessary to take issue with this critique I cannot imagine, but it seems lame to me.

Yours truly, Michael Klare





Quoting David Schwartzman <[log in to unmask]>:

Michael Klare claims in his TomDispatch article that there is "* No Hope

for Averting Catastrophic Climate Change".   I disagree with this claim
which is not even consistent with what the 2012 World Energy Outlook report
says.
*

Klare goes on to say "Of all the findings in the 2012 edition of the World
Energy Outlook, the one that merits the greatest international attention is
the one that received the least.  Even if governments take vigorous steps
to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the report concluded, *the continuing

increase in fossil fuel consumption will result in “a long-term average
global temperature increase of 3.6 degrees C. [bold added]*”

The key section in the above quotation is in* bold*.  I don't have the full

report yet, but this is what the online available FactSheet of the report
says:

*" In the Efficient World Scenario, energy‐related CO2 emissions peak

before 2020 and decline to 30.5 Gt in 2035, pointing to a long‐term average
temperature increase of 3 °C. The rapid*

*deployment of energy‐efficient technologies can delay the complete

“lock‐in” of CO2 emissions permitted for a 2 °C trajectory – which is set
to happen in 2017 in the New Policies Scenario –** until 2022, buying five

extra years to reach a global climate agreement. In addition to energy
efficiency, however, low‐carbon technologies will be needed to achieve the
2 °C goal. In the Efficient World Scenario, emissions of local pollutants
are also cut sharply, bringing environmental and health benefits to China
and India in particular."*


*In other words, ** if there is any chance left to avoid catastrophic

climate change C3) reduction in global carbon emissions must start very
soon, with robust substitution of fossil fuels, starting with coal (and
non-conventional petroleum such as tar sands and fracked gas*) by wind and
solar energy as well as carbon sequestration from the atmosphere to the
soil and crust**.  Thus, while C3 looms ever closer, it is not inevitable

as Klare claims it is, based on this report.
*

*
*

*What is most problematic about Klare's pronouncement of inevitability is

that it is disempowering to say the least.  It is a huge disservice to our
children and grandchildren to give up now, accepting the inevitability of
C3.  Our global challenge is to mount the necessary transnational political
power while there is still time to act, even if our chances of success are
rapidly diminishing.  More on this at www.solarUtopia.org.
<http://www.solarUtopia.org>*


**Note that fracked gas may well have a similar carbon footprint to coal,

because of leakage of methane to the atmosphere, so the substitution of
fracked gas for coal will not likely result in a reduction in greenhouse
gas warming impacts. This critical point is not mentioned in Klare's
otherwise informative piece, aside from his claim for the inevitability of
C3. Rather Klare states inaccurately "*One aspect of this energy

“revolution” deserves special attention. The growing availability of cheap
natural gas, thanks to hydro-fracking, has already reduced the use of coal
as a fuel for electrical power plants in the United States.  This would
seem to be an obvious environmental plus, since gas produces less
climate-altering carbon dioxide than does coal."


David Schwartzman*

*



On Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 2:19 PM, Phil Gasper <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

**



Michael Klare
Five College Professor of Peace & World Security Studies
Hampshire College, Amherst, MA 01002 USA
Phone 413-559-5563 Web: pawss.hampshire.edu
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